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There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.

KURT VONNEGUT, The Sirens of Titan

Our leaders are sick of all the solid information that has been dumped on humanity by honest research and excellent scholarship and investigative reporting. They want to put us back on the snake-oil standard.

KURT VONNEGUT, Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2006

There is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds.

KURT VONNEGUT, Slaughterhouse-Five

Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.


What's going to happen is, very soon, we're going to run out of petroleum, and everything depends on petroleum. And there go the school buses. There go the fire engines. The food trucks will come to a halt. This is the end of the world.

KURT VONNEGUT, Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2006

Evolution is a mistake. Humans are a mistake. We've destroyed our planet.

KURT VONNEGUT, Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2006

Real estate doesn't interest me. It's no doubt a great flaw in my personality, but I can't think in terms of boundaries. Those imaginary lines are as unreal to me as elves and pixies. I can't believe that they mark the end or the beginning of anything of real concern to the human soul.


World War II made war reputable because it was a just war. I wouldn't have missed it for anything. You know how many other just wars there have been? Not many. And the guys I served with became my brothers. If it weren't for World War II, I'd now be the garden editor of The Indianapolis Star. I wouldn't have moved away.

KURT VONNEGUT, JR., Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2006

Maturity ... is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists.

KURT VONNEGUT, JR., Cat's Cradle

Human beings will be happier — not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie — but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That’s my utopia.

KURT VONNEGUT, JR., Playboy interview, 1973

Anybody with any sense knows the whole solar system will go up like a celluloid collar by-and-by.

KURT VONNEGUT, JR., Conversations With Kurt Vonnegut

I'm eighty-three and homeless. It was the same when World War II ended. The Army kept me on because I could type, so I was typing other people's discharges and stuff. And my feeling was "Please, I've done everything I was supposed to do. Can I go home now?" That what I feel right now. I've written books. Lots of them. Please, I've done everything I'm supposed to do. Can I go home now? I've wondered where home is. It's when I was in Indianapolis when I was nine years old. Had a dog, a cat, a brother, a sister.

KURT VONNEGUT, JR., Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2006

I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.

KURT VONNEGUT, The Sirens of Titan

We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.

KURT VONNEGUT, Breakfast of Champions

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.

KURT VONNEGUT, attributed, Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott)

I try to keep deep love out of my stories because, once that particular subject comes up, it is almost impossible to talk about anything else. Readers don’t want to hear about anything else. They go gaga about love. If a lover in a story wins his true love, that’s the end of the tale, even if World War III is about to begin, and the sky is black with flying saucers.

KURT VONNEGUT, The Paris Review, spring 1977

I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel or a play or a poem is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.


Luck is not the hand of God.... Luck is the way the wind swirls and the dust settles eons after God has passed by.

KURT VONNEGUT, The Sirens of Titan

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.

KURT VONNEGUT, A Man Without a Country

I want a military funeral when I die—the bugler, the flag on the casket, the ceremonial firing squad, the hallowed ground.... It will be a way of achieving what I’ve always wanted more than anything—something I could have had, if only I’d managed to get myself killed in the war.... The unqualified approval of my community.

KURT VONNEGUT, The Paris Review, spring 1977

And so it goes...

KURT VONNEGUT, Slaughterhouse-Five

Just because you can read, write and do a little math, doesn't mean that you're entitled to conquer the universe.


If somebody says "I love you" to me, I feel as though I had a pistol pointed at my head. What can anybody reply under such conditions but that which the pistol holder requires? "I love you, too."

KURT VONNEGUT, Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons

Any man who would change the World in a significant way must have showmanship, a genial willingness to shed other people's blood, and a plausible new religion to introduce during the brief period of repentance and horror that usually follows bloodshed.

KURT VONNEGUT, The Sirens of Titan

Science is magic that works.


All living things were brothers, and all dead things were even more so.

KURT VONNEGUT, The Sirens of Titan

All of a sudden, critics wanted me squashed like a bug. And it wasn’t just that I had money all of a sudden, either. The hidden complaint was that I was barbarous, that I wrote without having made a systematic study of great literature, that I was no gentleman, since I had done hack writing so cheerfully for vulgar magazines—that I had not paid my academic dues. I had suffered, all right—but as a badly educated person in vulgar company and in a vulgar trade. It was dishonorable enough that I perverted art for money. I then topped that felony by becoming, as I say, fabulously well-to-do. Well, that’s just too damn bad for me and for everybody. I’m completely in print, so we’re all stuck with me and stuck with my books.

KURT VONNEGUT, The Paris Review, spring 1977

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.


I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone.

KURT VONNEGUT, Slaughterhouse-Five

As far as I'm concerned ... the Universe is a junk yard, with everything overpriced. I am through poking around in the junk heaps, looking for bargains. Every so-called bargain ... has been connected by fine wires to a dynamite bouquet.

KURT VONNEGUT, The Sirens of Titan

If a person survives an ordinary span of sixty years or more, there is every chance that his or her life as a shapely story has ended and all that remains to be experienced is the epilogue. Life is not over, but the story is.


Tis better to have love and lust
Than to let our apparatus rust.

KURT VONNEGUT, God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

Vietnam was a country where America was trying to make people stop being communists by dropping things on them from airplanes.

KURT VONNEGUT, Breakfast of Champions

So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to do was to discover what other people were thinking, and then they thought that, too.

KURT VONNEGUT, Breakfast of Champions

A step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.


Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue.... Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.

KURT VONNEGUT, Slaughterhouse-Five


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